“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.” Matthew 24:42-43
The word watch means to “keep awake” and be “spiritually alert.” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary) It is the main instruction Jesus gives to His people about the end times. So how does one watch?
First, I think it is important to realize how easy it is to fall asleep spiritually. The flesh or carnal nature is weak and when it’s in control of our lives we go to sleep. It can be hard to recognize you’re asleep because you can still be busy doing stuff, maybe even religious duties. But when we put our identity in doing instead of in the Lord Himself, we start falling asleep spiritually.
Jesus said we have to “keep watching,” so we have to ask ourselves regularly: Have I fallen asleep? Do I find myself compromising in situations that I wouldn’t have in the past? Have I stopped reading the Bible and praying on my own? Do I think most about this world or the one to come? Am I more concerned about what people think or about what God thinks? These are important questions because they warn us when we’re getting sleepy.
If you’re fairly certain you’ve fallen asleep then tell yourself it’s time to wake up. Sound the alarm and don’t hit the snooze button or turn it off until you are all the way out of bed. Take time to repent and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you again. Consider fasting a meal or a day to grab a hold of eternal life in a determined fashion. I’m struck by this verse in Hebrews, “There is a Sabbath rest for the people of God… so make every effort to enter that rest.” (Hebrews 4:9-11) It really is a paradox – we are fully awake only when we’re resting in Christ’s finished work. Once we’re awake we need to “keep watching.”